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National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America Debuts in China In July 2015

Following Kick-Off Concerts in Purchase, NY and at New York City’s Carnegie Hall, NYO-USA’s Historic First Tour of China Features Seven Performances In Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Xi’an, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong

Conductor Charles Dutoit Leads NYO-USA with Pianist YUNDI as Guest Soloist in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5

Concert Program also Features Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique and the Premiere of Tan Dun’s Passacaglia: Secret of Wind and Birds, Commissioned by Carnegie Hall for NYO-USA

(July 1, 2015; NEW YORK, NY)— This summer, the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA), featuring 114 outstanding young musicians from across the country, comes together for a third year of extraordinary music-making, culminating in a nine-concert tour with performances in the US and in China from July 10-26.

Established by Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute in 2013, NYO-USA shines a spotlight on the depth of talent among young instrumentalists across the United States. The members of the 2015 orchestra—all ages 16-19, hailing from 37 US states—have been recognized by Carnegie Hall as being among the finest players in the country, following a comprehensive audition process. This summer’s orchestra features 40 returning musicians from the 2013 and 2014 NYO-USA. The orchestra also includes 25 musicians on its roster with Chinese ancestry, some of whom will be performing for extended family in China for the first time. The NYO-USA program is free for all participants.

This summer, following performances in Purchase, NY and at New York City’s Carnegie Hall, NYO-USA is thrilled to make its debut in China with seven historic concerts. The orchestra’s tour kicks off in the capital city of Beijing on July 15, followed by appearances at many of the country’s greatest concert halls in several different regions of the country, including ShanghaiSuzhouXi’anShenzhenGuangzhou, and Hong Kong.

“The National Youth Orchestra of the USA challenges its players not only to perform musically at the highest level, but also to serve as great musical ambassadors for their country,” said Clive Gillinson, Carnegie Hall’s Executive and Artistic Director. “The orchestra’s first tour to China will undoubtedly be an amazing opportunity for musical and cultural discovery. I am confident that NYO-USA’s concerts will inspire audiences wherever we go as our players form many new friendships along the way, making true connections with people through music.”

Celebrated conductor Charles Dutoit, Conductor Laureate of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Artistic Director of London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, will lead NYO-USA in its performances in New York and China, joined by internationally-renowned pianist YUNDI as guest soloist. The concert program to be performed at all concert venues will include the premiere of Passacaglia: Secret of Wind and Birds by groundbreaking Chinese composer Tan Dun, commissioned by Carnegie Hall, as well as Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”) and Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique. Written especially for NYO-USA, Tan Dun’s Passacaglia draws on musical forms and methods from East and West, ancient and modern. The new work incorporates sounds of nature like birdsong, an element frequently used in traditional Chinese music, with some sounds digitally recorded and played on smartphones, turning the devices into instruments that reflect our life and spirit today.

Acknowledging the power that music and the arts have to bring people together, NYO-USA’s tour has been designated as one of only four Cultural Pillars of the Consultation on People to People Exchange (CPE) between the USA and China; the Cultural Pillars receive this designation to enhance and strengthen ties between citizens of the US and the People’s Republic of China through culture. The tour’s kick-off in July will be celebrated with special events for the teen musicians, hosted by Ambassador Zhang Qiyue, Consul General of the People's Republic of China in New York and by the U.S. Ambassador to the People's Republic of China, Max Sieben Baucus in Beijing.

As part of their travel schedule, the NYO-USA players will have the chance to experience China’s cultural riches, touring the cities in which they perform. They will also have opportunities to interact with local young musicians and to participate in other informal community performances along the way. On social media, Chinese language speakers will be invited to follow the orchestra’s journey on its recently-launched Weibo page: weibo.com/nyousa.

The orchestra’s 2015 tour includes cities in China that have now become mainstays for international ensembles as well as some that host American orchestras less frequently. Reflecting a building boom of architecturally innovative performing arts centers in China, six of the seven venues in which NYO-USA will perform were built within the past two decades. NYO-USA’s 2015 tour dates are: 

July 10 Purchase, NY Performing Arts Center, Purchase College, SUNY
July 11 New York, NY Carnegie Hall, Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
July 15 Beijing National Centre for the Performing Arts
July 17 Shanghai Shanghai Oriental Art Center
July 19 Suzhou Suzhou Cultural and Arts Centre
July 21 Xi'an Xi'an Concert Hall
July 23 Shenzhen Shenzhen Concert Hall
July 24 Guangzhou Xinghai Concert Hall
July 26 Hong Kong Hong Kong Cultural Centre


NYO-USA’s July 11 performance from New York’s Carnegie Hall will be heard by music lovers around the globe via the Carnegie Hall Live broadcast and digital series, created in partnership with WQXR and distributed nationally by WFMT Radio Network. The Carnegie Hall concert will also be streamed live online for free by medici.tv, continuing a partnership to make live video webcasts of Carnegie Hall presentations available to audiences worldwide.

Bloomberg Philanthropies (bloomberg.org) is NYO-USA's Founding Sponsor, having provided generous support to the program since the orchestra's inaugural year in 2013.


About the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America

Each summer, Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute brings together the finest young musicians from across the country (ages 16-19) to form the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA). Following a comprehensive audition process and a two-week training residency at Purchase College, State University of New York with faculty made up of principal players from top professional orchestras, these remarkable teenagers embark on a tour to some of the great music capitals of the world, serving as America’s dynamic music ambassadors.

Launched in summer 2013 to great critical acclaim, the first-ever National Youth Orchestra of the USA presented concerts with famed conductor Valery Gergiev and renowned violinist Joshua Bell to enthusiastic audiences in Washington DC; St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia; and at the BBC Proms in London, England. The 2014 orchestra, led by dynamic American conductor David Robertson with virtuoso violinist Gil Shaham as soloist, made its debut at Carnegie Hall in New York City, followed by a coast-to-coast US tour to Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts; Boone, North Carolina; Chicago, Illinois; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Sonoma County, California; and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, California.

In preparation for the China tour, the musicians of the 2015 National Youth Orchestra of the USA rehearsed from June 27 to July 10 on the campus of Purchase College, State University of New York, located in Westchester County, just north of New York City.

James Ross, director of orchestral activities at the University of Maryland, returned this summer to lead the NYO-USA faculty for a third year. The faculty—comprised of some of the finest players and section leaders from America’s greatest orchestras and music schools—has overseen rehearsals during the orchestra’s residency in Purchase and conducted master classes, chamber music readings, and other seminars on essential music skills, all leading up to the launch of the orchestra’s international tour.

The 2015 residency faculty members have included:

James Ross, Orchestra Director
Jacob Sustaita, Assistant Conductor

Robert Chen, Concertmaster, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Jennifer Ross, Principal Second Violin, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Beth Guterman Chu, Principal Viola, St. Louis Symphony
Brinton Averil Smith, Principal Cello, Houston Symphony
Scott Pingel, Principal Bass, San Francisco Symphony
Jeanne Baxtresser, Former Principal Flute, New York Philharmonic
Elizabeth Koch Tiscione, Principal Oboe, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
Stephen Williamson, Principal Clarinet, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Stephen Paulson, Principal Bassoon, San Francisco Symphony

Erik Ralske, Principal Horn, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
David Krauss, Principal Trumpet, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Ko-ichiro Yamamoto, Principal Trombone, Seattle Symphony
Dennis Nulty, Principal Tuba, Detroit Symphony Orchestra

Christopher Deviney, Principal Percussion, The Philadelphia Orchestra
Don S. Liuzzi, Principal Timpani, The Philadelphia Orchestra
Gretchen Van Hoesen, Principal Harp, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

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Program Information

Charles Dutoit
, Conductor
YUNDI, Piano

TAN DUN Passacaglia: Secret of Wind and Birds (commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
BEETHOVEN Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat Major, "Emperor"
BERLIOZ Symphonie fantastique

What the press have said about the National Youth Orchestra of the USA:

“The performance exuded vitality and confidence.” — The New York Times

“This very large orchestra not only played with ferocious spirit and genuine personality, but it also produced refined performances notable for credible polish.” — Los Angeles Times

“It was the kind of night that reassures classical music lovers that the art form will survive well into the future.” — Musical America

“Throughout, the playing was of the highest caliber: controlled, precise, crisp, and nuanced, with perfect ensemble.” — Classical Voice North America

“Carnegie Hall may have created the best music camp ever.” — National Public Radio

“With their debut this week it already seems safe to say that the future of classical music in America is stronger than it was even one month ago!” — The Times, London 

“The whole ensemble played with electric commitment.” — The Guardian

To learn more about NYO-USA, visit carnegiehall.org/nyousa.
Like NYO-USA on Facebook at facebook.com/nyousa.
Follow NYO-USA on Twitter at #NYOUSA.
Follow NYO-USA on Weibo at weibo.com/nyousa.
See more from NYO-USA on YouTube at youtube.com/nyousa

* * *

National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America Founding Sponsor: Bloomberg Philanthropies

Founder Patrons: Blavatnik Family Foundation; The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; Marina Kellen French and the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation; Ronald O. Perelman; Robertson Foundation; Robert F. Smith; Sarah Billinghurst Solomon and Howard Solomon; and Joan and Sanford I. Weill and the Weill Family Foundation.

Major Tour Sponsors: Wailian Overseas Consulting Group, Limited and PwC

Additional funding has been provided by the Jack Benny Family Foundation for Music Education; Andrew and Margaret Paul; and Sir David Tang.

Bank of America is the Proud Season Sponsor of Carnegie Hall

Image at top of release by Chris Lee

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